Activists remain 'captive' on Japanese whaling ship
Thursday 17 January 2008
The fate of two environmental activists held by the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Antarctic hung in the balance for a second day yesterday despite a reported deal between the Australian and Japanese governments to secure their release.
Giles Lane, a Briton from Brighton, East Sussex, and Benjamin Potts, an Australian, were captured by crew members of the Yushin Maru No 2 on Tuesday after they boarded the Japanese ship to deliver a letter of protest. They have been held on the ship since then. The men are volunteers with the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, which is trying to disrupt the hunt.
Takahide Naruko, a Japanese Fisheries Agency official, told reporters yesterday that the Japanese fleet had halted its whale hunt and was trying to arrange the turnover of the two activists. But crew members on the Sea Shepherd's ship the Steve Irwin said the Yushin Maru No 2 had gained speed and was still trying to lose them.
Speaking by satellite phone, the captain, Paul Watson, said: "The Yushin Maru No 2 is now about 40 nautical miles to the south of us but as for a handover we haven't heard a word from either the Japanese or Australian governments and have still had no radio contact from the Japanese fleet."
Captain Watson said his organisation was sent a letter yesterday from the Institute of Cetacean Research, the wing of the Japanese government that carries out the whale hunt, saying the men would be released only if Sea Shepherd promised "no violent action" against the Japanese fleet, to stop filming and photographing the hunt and that the Steve Irwin remain at least 10 nautical miles away from the Yushin Maru No 2 during any handover.
Sea Shepherd said the actions were "terrorism". "It's the kind of thing you might expect from al-Qa'ida," said Captain Watson. He added that Sea Shephered had the whaling fleet "on the run" and would consider a rescue mission.
The Japanese government, meanwhile, accused Sea Shepherd of stalling to raise publicity. A foreign ministry official, Tomohiko Taniguchi, said the Japanese fleet was trying to return the activists but that the Steve Irwin was not allowing it to. "These people aren't hostages – they're unwanted guests," he said. "We want them off our ship immediately, but they're not giving us the chance."
The Australian Foreign minister, Stephen Smith, said the situation was dangerous and called for caution.
It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959
Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
...and the perfect time to visit them
Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result
The banker who saved Britain
Desert life threatened by climate change and human exploitation
Conjoined gray whale calves discovered in Mexican lagoon could be world's first ever documented find, experts say
Carbon dioxide accumulates as seas and forests struggle to absorb
Amazon tribal chief’s SOS: the white man is destroying everything
- 1 iPhone 6 review: bigger, thinner, faster, brighter - Apple proves you can make the best better
- 2 Sports Direct security guard allegedly banned Jewish schoolboys and told them: 'No Jews, no Jews'
- 3 Watch a man race the Circle line - and win
- 4 Pakistani passenger power forces two politicians off plane
- 5 Kanye West halts concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...
£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: SEN Teacher required with immediate...